The women's basketball team (4-16, 1-5 Ivy) said last week that it would have its plate full over the weekend against two of the top teams in the Ancient Eight: Princeton (13-6, 4-1 Ivy) and Penn (14-5, 4-1 Ivy). And while Lions managed a good showing in both contests, they finished the weekend winless.
The focus of the games was to control the things the team could, and head coach Stephanie Glance said she was happy with the Lions' control of shot selection.
“Our offense gets us good looks, but you can't always control whether or not the ball goes in. I think that has more to do with the talent level,” she said.
Friday night, the Lions entered Levien riding a three-game losing streak against three-time defending Ivy League champion, Princeton. Although the Lions kept the score tight through the first half, the Tigers, who boast the league's highest-scoring offense, showed their depth in the second half, ultimately running away with the game, 70-41.
Glance said after the game that she thought the Lions played well defensively.
“I think we moved well. I think we arrived at the right time at the right place. And we did a better job on closing out on their shooters,” Glance said.
Senior forward Courtney Bradford, who struggled offensively all night, said that she was happy with the Lions' overall defensive effort.
“The first half we played them pretty close,” she said. “But in the second half we just couldn't hit our shots. So something she [Glance] focused on is boxing out and rebounding and not giving them easy shots.”
Saturday night, the Lions participated in Play4Kay, which raised money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Instead of its normal light blue, Columbia came out wearing pink jerseys and shoes in honor of the late Kay Yow, Glance's former mentor at North Carolina State.
Penn presented a contrast in style from what Columbia saw the night before with the Tigers. Penn, which has the league's best scoring defense, looked to stifle the Light Blue on the perimeter early with its highly effective zone defense. But only a few minutes into the game, the Lions figured out how to combat the Quakers' speed and length by utilizing the high and low posts. Bradford rebounded from Friday to score a career-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting against the best shot blocker in the league, Sydney Stipanovich.
“I was thinking I had to get around her and use my speed on her,” Bradford said. “No player can be everything. You can be fast, or you can be tall, or you can be strong. She was taller so I just had to be faster.”
Ultimately, though, the Quakers got the late defensive stops they needed and hit their free throws to take the game.
Although the Lions came away with another winless weekend, Glance said she considers these two games to be a success. Especially when compared to the team's performances against Princeton and Penn last year, vast improvements can be seen.
“For us, the measure of success is very different than any other program,” she said. “For us the measure of success isn't going to be in the Ws, it's going to be us executing the little things.”
The Lions head north next weekend to take on Harvard and Dartmouth.
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